Sunday, September 13, 2009

Jon's Got Skillz!

During Jon's days off last week, I was treated to two nights in a row of his cooking. Jon's always been a good cook, but since his training here in France, I can honestly say that he is now a great one.

When he used to cook back home, before Ferrandi and the Ritz entered the picture, it was a 50/50 chance that what he threw together would actually be tasty. I say it this way because despite a ridiculously large collection of cookbooks, the man does not believe in using them to actually cook with. Rather, they're nice things to look at. Seeing as how I am a stickler for following a recipe and am only really comfortable with deviation after a thorough knowledge of making the dish, i.e. I've done it a million times, I never really understood Jon's attitude towards cooking. It seems now, however, that he was just waiting for the training necessary to create great dishes from only the information floating in his head.

Exhibit A: Sauteed Shrimp with Creamed Leeks and
Herbed Potatoes

Jon learned how to make the leeks the other day at work and, as I am a complete FREAK for leeks (and for cream for that matter), he knew I would love them. He also sauteed up some shrimp, another of my favorite things to eat, and practiced his turning skills with the potatoes. This was one of the best meals I've eaten in quite a while. It was even yummier because we watched Mad Men while we ate. That Joan is one fine broad, let me tell you.

Exhibit B: Thai Chicken and Noodle Soup

Something else that I really enjoy eating, but rarely do, is coconut-milk soup. It's just not something that I think of, but when placed in front of me, I will go to town on a bowl or two. Jon wanted to practice his knife skills, so he hacked up some chicken wings and legs, made a DELICIOUS broth, cut carrots into pretty flower shapes (can you see them in the photo?), added baby corn (love!), snow peas, and noodles, a bit of sriracha, and coconut milk, and voila- a yummy, spicy, filling, and simple dinner for two.

I think this evidence helps my argument that my husband is a good chef. I don't want to call him a cook anymore. I'm a cook- I learned any skills I might have from my mom, an excellent cook in her own right- but I'm not trained. I can't take random ingredients and make a gourmet meal out of them. I can't cut carrots into shapes or make each onion dice the exact same size as the next (in fact, my onion chopping skills are deplorable- it's a miracle I've made it this long without cutting off a fingertip or two). But Jon-- he can do all of these things and he's getting better every day. As evidence of this, he was promoted the other day. Chef Michel Roth (Two Michelin Stars, People. TWO.) walked up to Jon, pointed at him, and said in broken English, "I want you for the Espadon." That was it. Jon was filled in later by an English speaking colleague that as of the end of September, he will be on the petit garde manger station at the big restaurant. This is a BIG deal, even though Jon speaks lightly of it.

I'm really proud of him. So proud, in fact, that we took a little trip to E. Dellherin, the rambling, old restaurant supply store in the 1st arrondisement. It's been around since 1820 and it looks it. I took contraband photos of the interieur (I hear they ban you indefinitely if you're caught) while Jon spent an hour deciding on which turning knife to buy, but hey, it was his reward. I couldn't (and didn't want to) complain.

Yes, you could cook a small child in this pot, it's that big!

You will be mine someday, Stuab Pot.
Oh yes- you will be mine.

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